Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 3, 2018

Critical Whiteness Studies and the “Jewish Problem”

Balázs Berkovits EMAIL logo


The “whiteness” of Jews has recently become a popular topic both in public debates and in academic research (Critical Whiteness Studies). Within this discourse, “whiteness” is used as a critical concept denoting those who enjoy white privilege in American and other Western societies. However, attributing “whiteness” to Jews is more than controversial, for it assimilates the most persecuted minority in European history to the dominant majority, while downgrading the significance of antisemitism. This is a necessary move in order to reaffirm and critically address the fundamental nature of the black and white divide; however, it is questionable both methodologically and politically.


Bakan, Abigail B. (2014) “Race, Class, and Colonialism: Reconsidering the ‘Jewish Question’”, in. Bakan Abigail B and Dua Enakshi (ED.), Theorizing Anti-Racism: Linkages in Marxism and Critical Race Theories, Toronto: Toronto University Press, p. 252-279Search in Google Scholar

Boltanski, Luc (2009) De la critique, Paris: GallimardSearch in Google Scholar

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo (2006) Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & LittlefieldSearch in Google Scholar

Brodkin, Karen (1999) How Jews Became White Folks?, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University PressSearch in Google Scholar

Green, Emma (2016a) ”Why Do Black Activists Care About Palestine?” in Google Scholar

Green, Emma (2016b), “Are Jews White?” in Google Scholar

Gilman, Sander L. (2006) Multiculturalism and the Jews, Taylor & FrancisSearch in Google Scholar

Goldberg, David Theo (2009) The Threat of Race. Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism, Malden, MA: BlackwellSearch in Google Scholar

Goldstein, Eric L. (2006) The Price of Whiteness. Jews, Race and American Identity, Princeton: Princeton University Press10.1515/9780691207285Search in Google Scholar

Ignatiev, Noel (1995) How the Irish Became White, New York: RoutledgeSearch in Google Scholar

Jacobson, Matthew Frye (1999) Whiteness of a Different Color. European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press10.2307/j.ctvjk2w15Search in Google Scholar

Kolchin, Peter (2002) “Whiteness Studies: The New History of Race in America”, The Journal of American History, Vol. 89, No. 1, p. 154-173Search in Google Scholar

McIntosh, Peggy (1989) “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, Peace and Freedom, July/AugustSearch in Google Scholar

McWhorter, Ladelle, “Where do white people come from? A Foucaultian Critique of Whiteness Studies”, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 31, Nos 5–6, pp. 533–556.10.1177/0191453705055488Search in Google Scholar

Omi, Michael and Winant, Howard (1987) Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960 s to the 1980s New York: Routledge and Kegan PaulSearch in Google Scholar

Pagano, John-Paul (2016) “Anti-Racism Erases Anti-Semitism”, in Google Scholar

Roediger, David R. (1991) The Wages of Whiteness. Race and the Making of the American Working Class, London: VersoSearch in Google Scholar

Samuel, Sigal (2015) “I’m a Mizrahi Jew. Do I Count as a Person of Color?” in Google Scholar

Samuel, Sigal (2016) “Jews of Color Get Personal and Political at First-Ever National Gathering”, in Google Scholar

Shire, Emily (2017) “The Absurdity of Linda Sarsour and JVP discussing Anti-Semitism”, in Google Scholar

Traverso, Enzo (2013) “Les Juifs et la ‘ligne de couleur’”, in Laurent, Sylvie, Leclère, Thierry (ED.), De quelle couleur sont les Blancs?, Paris: La Découverte10.3917/dec.lecle.2013.02.0253Search in Google Scholar

Trom, Danny (2007) La promesse et l’obstacle. La gauche radicale et le problème juif, Paris: Edition du Cerf.Search in Google Scholar

Trom, Danny (2011) “Critique et diagnostic. Deux styles de sociologie”, in: Divinatio, No. 33., p. 73–84.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2018-4-3
Published in Print: 2018-4-1

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 26.11.2022 from
Scroll Up Arrow